After the New Year, one of your resolutions may have been to clean out old items. After doing so, what if you found some old guilder banknotes from your Netherlands trip as a teenager? (Your lovely Dutch Grandmother must have tucked them in that secret luggage compartment when you weren’t looking!)
While the Dutch guilder banknote became obsolete in 2002, the Nederlandsche Bank will exchange the majority of old guilder banknotes until the year 2032. They even provide a complete list of exchangeable notes. (Time to schedule that trip to visit Grandma!)
But the Netherlands isn’t the only country that adopted the euro. Now, under the European Union, the euro countries have grown to include: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Vatican City.
Their former currencies were: Spanish peseta (Andorra), Austrian schilling (Austria), Belgian franc (Belgium), Cyrpiot pound (Cyprus), Estonian kroon (Estonia), Finnish markka (Finland), French franc (France), German mark (Germany), Greek drachma (Greece), Irish pound (Ireland), Italian lira (Italy), Kosovo (no previous currency before the euro), Latvian lats (Latvia), Lithuanian litas (Lithuania), Luxembourgish franc (Luxembourg), Maltese lira (Malta), Monegasque franc (Monaco), Deutsche mark (Montenegro), Dutch guilder (Netherlands), Portuguese escudo (Portugal), Sammarinese lira (San Marino), Slovak koruna (Slovakia), Slovenian tolar (Slovenia), Spanish peseta (Spain), and Vatican lira (Vatican City).
So why the change?
Why did all these countries decide to abandon their national currency in favor of the euro?
Before the European Union, countries struggled to stabilize the differences between various currencies like the Spanish peseta and the French franc. It affected everything from European trade to travel. In 1993, the European Union (EU) was formed, with the creation of the euro following several years later in 1999.
The first euro countries started using the new coins and banknotes in 2002. As more countries joined, the combined euro countries became the Eurozone, which is one of the biggest currency sectors worldwide.
However, not everyone has adopted the euro. The United Kingdom has always chosen to keep the British pound sterling, even though until 2016, they were a part of the European Union.
As for some of the remaining EU countries like the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden adopting the euro, that remains to be seen. While the criteria to join can take up to two years, they may wait and see how the recovery in the Eurozone progresses.
The stabilizing purpose of the European Central Bank (ECB) seems to have had a positive effect on the euro countries. Their economies are rebounding, and fears after the United Kingdom left the European Union have minimized aseveryone is beginning to chill out about Brexit. The Eurozone economy is looking to expand close to 2 percent in 2018. These steady, incremental advances are a good sign for the euro countries.
Derek Pharr is Vice President of Products at Sporcle and an occasional writer of random topics and bad jokes. He also has an odd addiction to Taylor Swift songs and hates white foods.